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History 111



Paperno. 2:

ThomasHarriot,A Briefe and New Found Land of Virginia

ThomasHariot was the first author to write about North America. It was thefirst to be produced by an English man who was a visitor to thecontinent. Theodor de Bry later published the book. The book gives anaccount of events that Hariot went through while on a trip to RoanokeIsland. He described flora and fauna along with the natives who livedthere. It is an accurate account of the beginning of Englishsettlement in the America. The Theodor edition is inclusive ofengravings of images by John White. John had accompanied Hariottogether with the other colonists1.Both Hariot text and White`s images played a crucial role in theeconomy of America. They encouraged English investors in continuationof their colonial endeavors. These efforts became the resultantimpact of English settlement in Virginia. Theodor never went toAmerica, but he was able to interpret and present the works of Hariotin an easy-to-understand format. This paper focuses on some criticallessons derived from the book.


Thefirst impression of their depiction of the new found lands was thecurious minds the locals had. When the group of colonists arrived,most of them were minding their business. As soon as the visitorscame, everybody stopped to wonder about the direction of thevisitors2.The reader gets the knowledge that the new found land was used tosuch kind of interactions with guests. It is confirmed by the twoauthors when they say that the natives were used to interactions ofnature. According to Granganimeo`s wife, women were supposed to bekind to visitors. They were expected to offer them hospitality3.

Themost important fact the two authors shared about the land is theability of locals to communicate with visitors. The English and theIndians had different cultures, religious practices, history, andtechnology. Nevertheless, when they sat together on the dining table,they were able to connect and communicate cordially4.According to political gastronomy, there was a deep meaning to foodto the men and women in the new found lands. The written account ofnew America depicts food as ubiquitous. The main reason was due toits labor associations with daily life. Consequently, Indians andAmericans placed a high value on sharing.

Anothermessage was to make other settlers to know about the goodness of theland. The land is described as very productive in that they foundgrapes grown all over the land. The sea gave the land an appealingatmosphere as well as the long grown cedar trees that also made theland beautiful5.They describe the soil as very fertile for production even when itwas summer. The main message was to let the English settlers thatopportunity had greeted them. The English settlers saw a window ofopportunity on the untapped potential of the land and labor. Thedescription of the new found land was to attract investors. Thedescription of the property also bears another meaning.

Themeaning may not have been direct, but according to the communicationfrontiers of the time, it was implied. Offering the American settlersfood and their acceptance for the food was a form of communication.Other settlers arrived and offered Indians wine, clothes, and theirmeat and they to accept had a different meaning6.It was deduced that both parties were ready to start an alliance.When the two sides shared fish in equal proportion, it was an impliedmeaning that English and Indians shared an understanding of theevents that had transpired. It was an indication that the two partieshad communicated effectively7.


Theimages that White drew and the words used in the literature in thedescription of objects differ on describing people found in the newfound land. The words used contained hidden meaning intended toencourage other English investors to visit or even settle in the newterritories. White`s paintings were based on the experiences theyencountered. He meant to explain the existing problems using theobservations through his paintings8.Human beings accept art as a form of communicating belief andexpression of life experiences. Therefore, white`s images and Theodortext has an importance to the early history of the American people.

Whitewas respectively taken aboard the trip due to his artisticexperiences to make a visual record of what he observed in the newlands. The images differed with the actual words describing objectsfor various reasons9.The English were developed as compared to natives in the new land.Consequently, English people could read and interpret images as a wayof communicating different ideas. Images were the true representationof the facts obtained in the land. Words were used in the context ofthe events happening in various places10.

Picturesand actions were more revealing than the phrase utilized in theliterature. Pictures were an accurate representation of the actualnature. White recorded his images faithfully without exaggeration orreduction. Pictures honestly recorded real differences between thetwo people regarding culture, religion, and social setups11.Theodor words are kind enough to educate the English on thedifferences but cannot capture the differences entirely or representthe original vision presented by images. Pictures were differentbecause they were convincing and developed a factual approach towardsenlightening the differences12.

Theodormentions in the literature that when the natives first saw thedrawings made by White they did not know what to think. It was thefirst occasion when the tribal members were able to view any artsabout them13.They recognized each other in the drawings. They also became aware oftheir culture and traditional practices as they could see theirbrothers and sisters in the images. The images were drawn by whiteoffered first-hand testimony about the native people. Words might inseveral instances posed the people in their unnatural situation.

Thevalidation of images as to words is seen when Harriot is describingGranganimeo. He states that he was the brother of Wingina, theRoanoke Indian leader. He tries to describe how hi fancied Americanpresents by describing how he fashioned the piece of adornment to theextent of hanging it around his neck. White makes an image of thesame, and it looks more informing than words14.


Textand images generated a successful media tool in the generation ofpropaganda with the scientific report of the expedition. The bookoffered the hypotheses of the findings in the new lands while imagesacted as documenting facts, control experiments for the actualrepresentation of events, people, and objects. The book is a criticalliterature of history. It offers a transparent oversight of theencounters of the natives and the English people. The story revolvesaround a period when the threat of hunger and the inability to imposeEnglish claims to authority necessitated negotiations. Nonetheless,the book creates a richer understanding of the differences betweenthe natives and the English.


Haidar,Riad. 2016. &quotThomas Harriot&quot. Photoniques,no. 80: 12-13. doi:10.1051/photon/20168012.

1 Haidar, Riad. 2016. &quotThomas Harriot.&quot Photoniques, no. 80: 12-23. doi:10.1051/photon/20168012.

2 Haidar, Riad. 2016. &quotThomas Harriot,&quot 12-13

3 ibid., 14

4 Haidar, Riad. 2016. &quotThomas Harriot.&quot

5 Ibid., 16

6 Ibid., 17-18

7 (Haidar and Riad 2016). &quotThomas Harriot,&quot 19

8 Ibid., 19

9 Ibid., 19-20

10 Ibid., 21

11 Ibid., 21-22

12 Haidar, Riad. 2016. &quotThomas Harriot.&quot

13Ibid., 24

14 Ibid., 25-26